THE eminent journalist Finton O’ Toole recently commented: “Scotland will be retained as long as it is of either economic or strategic importance to the British state".

That is the context in which we, in Scotland, find ourselves, even more so after Brexit on October 31.

As we all know, we were only granted the first referendum on the basis that David Cameron thought that there was no chance of the Scots voting for independence!

The fact that it came so close scared the British establishment to its roots, and far from devolving more powers to the Scottish Government after Brexit we now know that any “powers returned to Scotland” will not be to our elected Scottish Government in the Scottish Parliament but to the Scottish branch office of the UK Government recently opened in Edinburgh, with a further branch office planned for Glasgow.

As a minimum, by this process, the effectiveness and therefore relevance of the Scottish Government and Parliament will, over time, be reduced to that of a “greater town council” much like Manchester.

I am very anxious about this, and while talking to fellow party members some reassure me that the leadership have a plan, which will be revealed in due course, perhaps at conference.

I hope so and I hope that plan includes asking for a Section 30 order without further delay.

The prorogation of Westminster puts the very existence of Hollyrood and a Scottish Government at immediate risk.

Boris Johnson is only too capable of dismantling devolution at a whim on the basis of “UK national unity”.

Nicola is determined to follow the precedent set by Alex with his Edinburgh Agreement, and whether or not members think this is appropriate we must respect her opinion as First Minister. This was the precedent and as such is the established “due formal legal process”.

I believe submitting a Section 30 request now will prove to be vitally important, both strategically and tactically.

A government-to-government rejection before October 31, while we are still part of the Europe Union (the latter recognising as it does our 62% vote in favour of continued membership), will be sufficient to keep open a means of appealing for our democratic rights to hold such a referendum on the EU agenda. Indeed I would hope it would keep open a legal right to appeal to the European Court of Justice should Westminster continue to say “now is not the time” or “not for a generation”.

After October any appeal would have to be to the UK Supreme Court of Justice, and I think we all know how badly that would go for Scotland! The EU would not get involved with what, after October 31, are the internal affairs of a non-member state.

The Scottish Government must act now, and submit that request – they already have that mandate.

Without it we will, after October 31, be talking to the wind.

Ian Stewart
Uig, Isle of Skye

THIS week a startling fact has been broadcast. After three years £8.6 billion, yes billion, has been spent on the UK Brexit fiasco, so far! It begs the question, how can the people of Scotland remain in a discredited Union where the continuing insanity of Westminster is destroying UK credibility in the eyes of Europe and the world?

An individual, like a nation, should always seek the freedom and independence to chart their own course.

Grant Frazer

OF course Johnson’s end game would be to wreck the Scottish Parliment. Mr Russell is totally right – we would ignore them

Andrew Ewan Stewart
via text